Self-taught percussionist Raymond Lowe was born in Trinidad, the birthplace of the steel pan. For nine years, he has brought calypso spark to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Moonlighting as a chef, cookbook author, and TV personality, Raymond says Caribbean cuisine―served with a side of pan―is his country's gift to the world.
Tuned in: The pan's metal, bowl-shape surface creates a singular sound that puts listeners in an island frame of mind. "It's amazing how people embrace this music. I am asked to perform all over the South for weddings, parties, even funerals."
Full plate: Raymond teaches cooking classes and hosts "Caribbean Inspiration," a culinary TV show broadcast in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. "Food and music are international means of communication. You don't have to be part of the culture to appreciate them."
Southern style: "After living in New York for many years, I moved to Alabama because this is where the ultimate food lovers live. People here have embraced my cuisine and culture, and they treat me like family. Plus, I live two minutes from the beach."